Metro Schools Reviewing Security in Wake of Sandy Hook Tragedy

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The doors were locked at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday, but a determined and well-armed intruder was still able to simply break a window to gain entrance inside the building.

The horrible tragedy that followed has schools across the nation - including here in the metro - re-evaluating their security measures as officials look to keep a similar massacre from every happening again.

At Piper High School, anyone who enters the school must do so through the school's office, where administrators can quickly determine whether they pose a danger to staff and students. But there's also a lot of glass around the entrance - glass that someone could break and bypass the office to get into the school.

In light of what happened in Connecticut, that has Piper School District superintendent Steve Adams concerned.

"Glass is always a concern," said Adams. "But it can be a good thing and a bad thing. True, you can break glass out but it does take time, it does make noise. The good thing is that glass is transparent and you can see problems coming before they arrive."

Adams says that the district has already determined that it will tweak security measures in its buildings. He says that although he has confidence that the buildings are already safe, the goal is to make continual improvements that would deter anyone from trying to harm students.

"We have glass in every classroom. And I don't think we want to board up every window, so we will look at what's best for the district and what's best for our kids," said Piper School District Development coordinator Kelly Kultala.

All Piper schools, just like Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, have security cameras. And although they didn't prevent the Sandy Hook tragedy, officials say that the cameras provide an important record and have prevented others from breaking the law or violating school rules.

But Adams says that one of the district's best defenses is the presence of armed school resource Officer Larry Beashore, who spends most of his time at the high school but visited the district's other campuses following the Sandy Hook shooting spree to review security measures.

"I believe that if someone is determined to get in somewhere, they will get in wherever they feel they need to go," said Beashore.

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